Pannier Training! Kinda sounds funny, doesn’t it?
I remember when I first rode my bike. It had a white basket with plastic flowers, a banana seat, a bell, and most importantly TRAINING WHEELS!.
I loved riding my bike. My barbies and dolls had their own personal limo. I was fortunate to have a father that loved cycling. Dad owned a bike shop out in Arizona called Evergreen Bike and Lawn. When I was little, I would go into the bike shop after school and “help”. Sometimes my help was a total nuisance, but dad always accepted my “help” with a smile and a hug.
Our garage was full of bikes. We had ten speeds, dirt bikes, and beach cruisers. I remember the day that dad told me it was time for me to learn to ride sans training wheels, Very Cool. Dad actually began adjusting the training wheels so they were there if I began tipping, but encouraged me to just balance and use my core. I was so excited. I liken the feeling of graduating out of training wheels to getting your license after driving with your permit.
So, off went the training wheels. I was an immediate professional at falling right off the bat. I received a lot of incredible genes from my loving parents and coordination was not one of them. Remember that wobbly feeling when you learn to balance? Well, now at 35.. I am discovering a new bike training… I call it “Pannier Training”.
Although I have cycled since I was about three, suddenly it is as if I am learning to ride again for the first time.
Some saddle bags look good!
So, for the next two and a half months I will be cycling into work. The commute is about 13 miles one way, and I will be stuffing the panniers full. I am very thankful for my CT sponsor Wayfarer bikes for providing me with these beauties.
And so, I ride on….
Well, the route is finished. The next steps are securing sponsors in each of the states and then venues for the public talks in the evenings.
The ride started at 500 miles. After much consideration, I thought it best to end in Thorndike, ME. Thorndike is home to the Mount View High School. This little high school in rural Maine is home to some amazing PeaceJam students that have literally changed the way their school functions. When mentioning this to the PeaceJam Northeast Executive Director, Barry Felson- he raised his eyebrows and said “REALLY?, because that is way up there!!”, to which I thought.. We might need to push our bikes up some hills in that territory…. but I responded with “Heck yes!”.
They have established composting, organic gardens, and the ability to reduce consumption while providing healthy food for school meals. These students have persevered. I thought if a group of students could focus
their passions and be steadfast over four solid years, that we could certainly ride another hundred miles.
Am I intimidated? You bet ya! Was Jody Williams ever intimidated when she stood up and fought against landmines? you bet ya!
PeaceJam is more than a program that offers a curriculum, PeaceJam offers an ongoing opportunity for CHANGE, GROWTH, LEADERSHIP, and learning how to advocate for what you believe in..
And so, Our route is finished. Beginning in New London, CT where our CT sponsor Wayfarer Cycles is located: http://www.wayfarerbike.com/.
I have never been to Mount View High School, and will be honored to see the work that these incredible youth have done. Sure hope I see a moose!
Spiritual experiences that awaken and motivate us happen every day, not just within the confines of a religious affiliation. This morning the words of a 40 something yr. old Special Olympian resonate in my mind “I DID IT! I LOVE CYCLING!, I rode 10 miles in a little over an hour!! I did good! I am so happy!!”..He glowed. Such incredible joy and thankfulness flowed from his being. Many other cyclists that completed a century or 50 mile ride were critiquing their times. Some athletes had driven many hours to “support the Special Olympic Athletes”, yet we know that everyone also competes because they are competing with themselves. Everyone has a story.. Behind every triathlete, every runner, cyclist, swimmer.. there is a motivation that has been sparked to make them “do”. On Sunday I cycled 70 miles. Fifty miles were for the Torch Ride for Special Olympics, and the other twenty were to get there, and get home 🙂
During the ride, I spoke with another fellow cyclist who I enjoyed drafting behind for about fifteen miles.. When we were having a water “fill up” he looked at me and said “Last year on this very day I was in the hospital battling cancer, this is my first ride over forty miles in over a year”. We high-fived and cycled on….Life is such a sweet gift to embrace.
As I sit in the office, with double needle stick in my arms after more blood work, I want to feel sadness and frustration at my own ailments.. and I then I think of the gift that this incredible athlete shared with me.. I think of the gift that the man who was in an adult stroller with a smile on his face shared with me as his sister pushed him along a 5 mile race, and I think of the little child that had a scar on her head cheering me on this past weekend as I ran past her at the 5k race that I did on Saturday for the “Hole in the Wall gang camp”. We all have a story, we all have a struggle, and we all have so much love.
God is a forever teacher.. sometimes I doubt him, I question him, I feel angry at him.. and then I remember the faces of those so full of light and joy… finding peace within their pain. Grace is all around us. And so, we ride on…….
I love the expression “Stand for something”.
It is so important to find our passion and learn how to have that passion FUEL us towards action.
In my case, it is cycling. So why PeaceJam? Why do I work for this organization? Why did I move out of my beloved state of Vermont to Connecticut to work for this non profit?
I work for PeaceJam, because PeaceJam creates passion in youth... and PeaceJam fuels youth to take action. The same philosophy that I use to lead my life is enveloped in the work of this non-profit. Today we learned that one of our PeaceJam youth from Maine just became Valedictorian of her class! She is not the first. Many youth that participate in PeaceJam become Valedictorians for their service work, not to mention receive incredible scholarships.
Having the opportunity to LEARN from curriculum that are standards based, and implement projects within their communities empowers youth towards becoming more empathetic and dynamic leaders as adults! Many incredible “Peace” programs exist throughout our world, but few with a dynamic curriculum that offer the opportunity for youth to spend time WITH the laureates that they learn about.
This weekend we attempted a century ride. As you know, I am “gearing up” for this long journey… As we began cresting a steep hill about 40 miles into our ride, my chain locked, and over I went. The pain was ridiculous as I landed perfectly on a jagged rock. My only initial goal was to get unclipped, off the road, and control my bleeding. As we improvised with some vines, used napkin, and some gatoraid-esque drink to cleanse my knee.. I looked down upon my leg and thought the old cliche “Stand for something”. We finished the ride, but decided to end short of a century. Part of inspiration and action, is also taking care of oneself.
Every day that we open our eyes, we start a new journey. Little did I know we would only complete 71 miles, and I would have a sweet-looking wound to nurse when we got home. But each journey provides us the opportunity to stand (or cycle) for something.. Something that inspires us.. towards action….
The Nobel Peace Laureates of PeaceJam found what inspired them and they acted until change happened… and then they kept on going because once the motion of inspiration sets into action… cadence kicks in…
I have not blogged for a few days. My cycling had to come to a stop for awhile as I had gotten sick.
This weekend was nourishing for our souls. Saturday we were able to get some preparations done for a shoreline clean up and party at our home and work on the lawns. Sunday we had a few of our neighbors and some new friends from Surfrider to the house. Our focus was on cleaning up the shoreline. About 23 of us walked the shore- picked up garbage and hauled out tires, pressure treated wood, and plastic barrels. Afterwards we returned to the house and were joined with a few more lovely neighbors and enjoyed fresh grilled clams and great company.
Sean and I woke up early on Monday and drove to Oxford to run a Memorial Day race in the rain, then returned home to enjoy a wonderful long road ride. The skies had cleared, and it felt good to be back on the bike. I am so thankful to have my husband be my best friend. It has been such a joy to share the things we love with each other. Sean is a phenomenal cyclist, and has been such an unconditional support to me through many trials. I am happy to be able to train for this ride with him. With Lupus, my body has flare ups that can last a few hours to a few days. It seems the older I get, the more I am becoming effected. It is a gentle dance between consistently “checking in” with my body and getting as much sleep as possible. I might need to extend the cycling trip in September to 9 days, or shorten some of the routes through the states. Route/Day change will be determined by late June.
Starting this week, my training schedule will include 80 miles. I will focus on riding every other day. We need to be able to complete a few transition days, Hopefully we can accomplish at least one solid practice over the weekend. After we return from the tri in Florida, I will begin longer rides (50 +) and more sprint practice.
Last week I spoke with one of our new PeaceJam programs in Deerfield, VT. We will be having a presentation in the community the night we arrive in VT. I am very excited to meet the PeaceJam youth! Five nights of the trip will include public talks in Universities and community centers. It is exciting to see parts of this ride come together.
My sister in law is also joining me for this incredible ride for Peace. I am so proud of her commitment towards this journey!
Thank you for sharing this experience.
“No one is really working for peace unless he is working primarily for the restoration of wisdom.”
—E. F. Schumacher